The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of telehealth services, which provide patients the convenience of receiving medical attention virtually. According to a study by McKinsey, demand for telehealth services increased almost 80-fold in February, March, and April 2020. And although the world has since opened up, with vaccine rollouts now being prioritized, patients continue to avail themselves of telehealth services. Some medical facilities report an up to 600% increase in the use of video visits. A Jones Lang LaSalle study found that by March 2022, 38% of patients had already received virtual care.
McKinsey’s study also found investments in the telehealth industry increased rapidly and changes in Medicare and Medicaid regulations encouraged more virtual care practices. The study also revealed telehealth was accepted more favorably by patients and providers than before the pandemic and could lead to telehealth’s role expanding beyond virtual doctor visits.
Telehealth could help health providers do more across various fields, including physical therapy, pregnancy care, health coaching, social work, and nutrition. It can help make longitudinal patient care, which integrates various disease prevention and treatment plans and tracks patient progress over time, more efficient and personalized for patients and providers. Telehealth technologies can also help build better patient-provider relationships.
Moreover, telehealth tools allow providers to offer new areas of care beyond virtual doctor visits, and video visits are just one component of the overall patient experience. Other synchronous and asynchronous interactions, such as participating in webinars and programs, personalized care plan review, goal setting and adherence, and performance logging and tracking, are necessary components of successful longitudinal care. Telehealth companies are redefining the longitudinal care experience and finding better and more effective ways to deliver personalized care with ease and cost efficiency.
Finally, the article shares the authors’ vision of a healthcare system rooted in preventative, longitudinal, and multidisciplinary care, which telehealth can facilitate. The future of telehealth delivery would combine technology with a longitudinal provider and care team to deliver better care and better patient outcomes.